Technology for better justice

Audience at the Technology For Justice Forum
Audience at the Technology For Justice Forum

Iequal youech

Over the past several years, many of us have come to rely on technology to make more informed decisions about our lives. Some of them help us day to day – like which roads we should take on the way home, or what foods we should eat, or how we should manage our workouts. Others are more consequential. In hospitals, doctors are using technology to follow how their patients fare, not just over days and weeks, but years. In agriculture, farmers are choosing what and when they plant by analyzing decades of crop data.

To put it simply, much of our life is now on a digital format. Just like access to food, shelter, healthcare and education, access to justice is a basic human right. Respect for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights is a pillar of a strong rule of law culture, providing safety and stability to communities and nations alike – especially for women and children, who are often in need of speedy justice. As technology outside the justice system continues to advance rapidly in use and availability, the need for change within the system is becoming unavoidable.

Murtaza Wahab Shah
Murtaza Wahab Shah

The legal system in Pakistan still heavily relies on traditional methods of working and the major one is paperwork. The courts still use hard copies for referring to different laws or case files when they can easily use PDF versions. There is a massive need of stamp papers to include in proceedings when e-signatures are slowly becoming common across the world and the list goes on. Not only is this time-consuming, it can also prove to be inefficient at times.

Hosted by Justice Project Pakistan, the third edition of Technology for Justice Forum (T4Jf) was recently held in Karachi. The conference was aimed at promoting tech-based solutions to reform Pakistan’s justice system. This forum brought together government stakeholders, legal practitioners and entrepreneurs to showcase groundbreaking innovations holding the potential to revolutionize dispensation and access to justice in Pakistan.

Isfandiar Kasuri
Isfandiar Kasuri

Founded in 2019, T4Jf has highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation and coordination between public and private sector bodies to bridge the gap between technology and justice. The forum celebrated Vakeel Online, an online legal platform aimed to play a critical role in bridging the gap between justice, legal practitioners and real people. Such portals are of utmost importance and need of the hour considering the foundation of the conference ie, introducing technology in the legal system where the real beneficiaries will be the people of Pakistan who will have justice at the palm of their hands.

Hon.  Justice Mansoor Ali Shah
Hon. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah

In attendance were some of the most prominent personalities from the legal fraternity including Barrister Murtaza Wahab Shah – Advisor to the CM on Law, Hon. Justice Muhammad Junaid Gaffar of the Sindh High Court, Mayhar Mustafa Kazi- Partner – RIAA Barker Gillette, Salahuddin Ahmed- Partner MCA Law Associates, Sara Malkani- Partner – Malkani & Vayani, Khozem A. Haidermota- Senior Partner Haidermota & co, Zahid Ebrahim – Partner FGE Ebrahim Hossein, Faisal Aftab- Co-Founder & CEO Zayn Capital, Jehan Ara- Founder & CEO Katalyst Labs, Atyan Tahir – CEO JazzCash, Naureen Hyatt- Co-Founder & CEO – Tez Financial Services, Shahab Sarki- President Sindh High Court Bar Association.

The Chief Guest, Hon. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of Supreme Court of Pakistan, expressed, “It is of utmost importance that the Court House is made efficient, affordable, intelligent and smart through technology. As far as my time on the bench is concerned, there is one single objective and that is that a case which starts at the trial court must end in the Supreme Court in maximum six months or maybe one year in the initial phase,”

Sarah Belal
Sarah Belal

Isfandiar Kasuri, Co-Founder Vakeel Online, elucidated, “T4Jf is committed to the development of a home-grown legaltech industry that will generate economic growth, empower citizens and rebuild lost public trust in Pakistan’s legal institutions. The power of this idea has been more than adequately demonstrated here in Karachi today, as key stakeholders from government, the judiciary, the legal community and civil society have come together with a shared vision for a Digital Legal Pakistan.”

They say that justice delayed is justice denied. Hopefully with the intervention of legaltech, we will be able to change that.

– A. Jafri

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